Go Compose

Working in partnership with Sound and Music to understand more regarding musical learning through composing, as well as potential barriers to composing.

Go Compose header pic

Picture courtesy of Sound and Music.


Research background

‘Go Compose’ is a national project ran by London-based new music charity Sound and Music. The scheme is part of their ongoing commitment to widening participation and development of young composers, and allows young people opportunities to work alongside professional composers and musicians to help develop their musical voice. The three projects working with Sound and Music on the ‘Go Compose’ scheme include Community Music (London), Drake Music (Liverpool) and Yorkshire Sound Women Network (Huddersfield University).

Very little research has investigated composing and composing practices of young people, especially in non-formal educational settings. Therefore, further research is ‘needed to examine contemporary arts practice and how this is experienced by diverse learners’ (Burnard and Swann, 2010, p.80), and investigate the ‘impact on learning of artist partnerships’ (Galton, 2008 in Burnard and Swann, 2010). This two-year research was commissioned by Sound and Music and funded by Youth Music to increase knowledge and understanding of progress and progression in composing, and to consider how composing activities can be made relevant and accessible to young people from a range of educational and learning backgrounds.

Sound and Music have a longstanding research relationship with Birmingham City University, having worked together on the seminal composing action research project Listen Imagine Compose in 2013. This new line of research progresses on from parts of the original findings from the report.

Research aims

Through this research, the BCU research team hope to use the findings to help facilitate widening participation in composing activities the future. 

Research questions:

  • What does 'good' composing provision look like?
  • What is pedagogically distinctive about Go Compose?
  • What impact does this provision have on young people's composing processes?
  • What can we learn from Go Compose and share with other music organisations? 

How has the research been carried out?

Music organisations, music leaders and young people will have the opportunity to share and reflect on their experiences of the composing projects through participation in the research. Data are collected through the use of semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews, online surveys, and observations.



The future

This research will contribute to knowledge and understanding of composing teaching and learning practices in diverse settings, and contribute knowledge to the field via both policy and practice; benefitting the wider music education sector including out of school music education projects and general school teaching.

For more information, visit the Sound and Music website or watch the Go Compose video on YouTube.